The Your Voice section of The Poet’s List showcases articles and blog posts written by poets. These pieces may or not be about poetry. Most often, they are on topics with which the poet finds passion. You can find more of these posts, here: Your Voice.
J. Ivy’s poetry has allowed him to travel the world. He has worked with the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra and Steve Harvey. His words allow him to to touch the world and provide inspiration and healing. We spoke with Ivy about what he does and why it resonates.
Tell everyone who you are and what you do?
What’s up world! My name is J. Ivy. I am a performance poet, writer, recording artist, author, actor, voice-over talent, mentor, and workshop facilitator. I’m naturally drawn to creativity and seeing it come to light.
For those who are new to who you are I would point them to your iconic poem from “Never Let Me Down” from Kanye West’s College Dropout album. Why do you think that poem resonates so many years later?
That poem came straight from the Source. Before getting the call from Coodie, who was in a Los Angeles studio filming Kanye while he was working on the album, I was in the midst of a life-changing chapter. I had recently broken through years of battling bouts of pain, depression, and grievance that arose from my father not being present most of my life and ultimately his passing. It was my poem “Dear Father” and the genuine power of forgiveness that allowed me to break free of those chains. I was actually at my spot in Brooklyn writing about me and my father reconnecting before he passed away when Coodie called me about “Never Let Me Down.” Already on a high from no longer dealing with that pain, finally feeling free, and super clear about what I was here to do with my passion, I was moved with even more excitement about the idea of being on a record with Kanye, knowing that he was taking off to superstardom, and Jay Z, one of the greatest of all time. I didn’t waste any time. I told Coodie I was going to find a way to LA, then I hung up the phone, turned to a blank page, wrote down the title, wrote down the date, wrote the first line … and then my mind went blank. It was in that moment that I turned to the source, I turned to God and prayed for a poem and over the next few minutes, what was eventually heard by the world appeared on the page of my notebook. I think people resonate with the passion felt in that moment, the hope, the purpose, and mostly how God uses us as instruments to relay his love … I poured my soul out on that page and two days later in L.A., I poured it out in the booth when I was flew out to record. Today and in the years to come, I believe that energy will continue to be felt.
You have released a few books, namely Here I Am: Then and Now and Dear Father: Breaking the Cycle of Pain. Why was it important for you to write these books?
I think it’s important for any poet or writer to create works for people because we all hold unique perspectives and experiences. We all hold pieces to this grand puzzle called life. Those keys, those works, those books inspire us, teach us, and present ideas that shift our psyche and help shape our dreams. Reading is an art that can’t be lost. Reading fuels our spirits and sparks change. Reading teaches us so much about ourselves and the world that surrounds us. In my own quest to add to the world’s library I was moved to write Here I Am: Then and Now to take a look at where we are in the world and how that inspired the lyrics of my album Here I Am, and with “Dear Father,” it was on my spirit and heart to write something about my experience and growth I was able to obtain by writing that very healing poem. I felt it necessary to extend that idea to others through the book in hopes to reconnect fathers with their children and for children to be able to find forgiveness for their fathers.